Telling your toddler that they are no longer going to be your only baby, is one of the toughest tasks you’d face as a parent. Becoming an older sibling is a huge transition for toddlers to make, and the arrival of a new baby brings a lot of changes to a family. It’s natural for parents to shift most of their attention to the new baby. However, it’s often hard for the older sibling(s) to adjust to these changes. They may start feeling jealous or neglected and react to these feelings by acting out.
You can make this transition smooth for your toddler, and make them excited to become an older sibling by preparing them adequately. To make this process easier, here are 5 simple ways you can prepare your toddler.
1. Break the news properly – Tell your toddler in a simple way, that ‘mommy is carrying a new baby, and you’re going to become a big brother/sister.’ Toddlers have a limited understanding of time, so it’s better to tell them when you’re almost due. By then you’d be showing, and they don’t have to wait too long to meet the baby.
2. Reassure them – Spend more time cuddling and doing fun activities with your toddler. Reassure them by saying things like ‘you will always be my special baby’. This will help with any feelings of jealousy and confusion they may be experiencing.
3. Make them part of the process – Take them through the pregnancy journey with you. Read books about babies together, and let them help you pick stuff for the new baby. Show them pictures from the ultrasound, let them feel the baby kick and ask them questions like, do you think the baby is going to have brown hair like you?
4. Give them a present – Give them something they’ve always wanted and say it’s from the baby. It will make them feel like they have a new friend.
5. Give your toddler tasks – It’s important to make your child feel like they’re taking on the new, huge role of being a big sister or brother rather than losing their position as the baby of the house. Let your toddler help you with little things like handing you diapers, and picking out clothes for the baby. Remind them that they get to do cool things like teaching the baby how to play their favorite games and songs.
Your kids are going to be the best of friends eventually, but remember that it’s not going to happen immediately. Be patient with your toddler and let them see that having a new sibling means they get a new playmate and best friend who’s also family. Walk with them through the process, and always reassure them of your love.
If your toddler is having trouble adjusting to having a new baby in the house, you can contact me to book a session.